ASTORIA, Queens (PIX11) — An Astoria woman is on a mission to deliver authentic West African food and culture to her Queens neighborhood.

Beatrice Ajaero, 31, provides hundreds of meals for local shelters and people in need each month. Ajaero’s family is from Nigeria, where she says food is the center of the community. She turned her pride in her Nigerian roots into a now-thriving restaurant during the pandemic. She says with every dish, she is sharing a piece of her culture.

At Nneji on 34th Avenue, they serve authentic Nigerian and West African food, such as yassa, egusi soup and spicy goat stew. The food is inspired by Ajaero’s mom and aunts.

Ajaero was busy on Thursday; on Friday she’ll be giving over 200 meals to those in need in her neighborhood for a nonprofit called Food First. Queens Together nonprofit executive director Jonathan Forgash said it’s Ajaero’s heart that’s really connected her to the community.

The Queens woman has an MBA and a law degree, but it was her childhood dream to open up a restaurant. Now her dream is to make West African food mainstream.